Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

Updated High School Report Card

As promised earlier this morning, The Bulldog has updated its popular Chicago Public School High School report card.

The report was updated following the release by the Chicago Public Schools of the School Progress Reports.

Below you’ll find all the selective enrollment high schools for the North Attendance Area and all the neighborhood schools serving Ravenswood students.


Download the PDF of the spreadsheet

Local Writer Honored With Book of Year by CWA

Ravenswood resident Krista August has been awarded a book of the year award for her guided tour of Lincoln Park statues. Credit: Krista August.

Krista August, a resident of South East Ravenswood, is one of three Chicago-area authors to be awarded the Book of the Year by the Chicago Writers Assoc.

“Giants in the Park: A Guide to Portrait Statues in Chicago’s Lincoln Park” was written and illustrated by August.

“These are all outstanding, truly deserving works,” CWA President Randy Richardson said.

Greg Borzo wrote in his review of Giants in the Park, “it includes a collection of crisp, clear and well-researched stories about the people depicted by these bronze figures as well as the people who funded and sculpted these historical treasures.”

August’s work is available through her website and at local booksellers. August will receive the award at an event at Book Cellar; 4736 N Lincoln Ave; Jan. 14, 7P.

New and improved North Side Schools scorecard

Below you’ll find a new and improved North Side Schools map.

What happened? Soon after the previous map was issued the Chicago Tribune issued its summary of the ISAT scores. Frankly there wasn’t any new information there. (Although some of the data visualizations may make the report useful).

And the Chicago Public Schools issued its School Progress Report.  This was full of great information and we wanted to update the map based on what was there. Make no mistake, though, as we reported a few weeks ago, the so-called “comprehensive map” is not so good.

We proud to give you what a parent needs to make decisions.

We’ll update the high school map shortly.



Download a PDF of the spreadsheet (With a big tip of the hat to reader Kim McCarten for helping us see our shortcomings).


22 file on 1st day for 2012 Primary

The first day of filing for the March 2012 primary indicated there will be at least two contested races for voters to consider. A primary contest to select the Democratic party boss of the 32nd ward and to select the Democratic candidate for the 14th Representative to the General Assembly both drew challengers.

Ald. Scott Waguespack files for 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman on Nov. 28, 2011

Ald. Scott Waguespack files to run for Democratic 32nd Ward Boss. Credit Jack Lydon

In the 32nd Ward, Ald. Scott Waguespack is opposing the reelection of Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey. Waguespack and Fritchey have been at odds, with Fritchey supporting two challengers against Waguespack in the 2011 Municipal election.

Waguespack is considered the leader of the opposition in City Hall. However, Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be supportive of Waguespack as Waguespack backed the mayor’s 2012 budget proposal that passed unanimously.

Fritchey, who had served in the General Assembly, is coming off a failed bid to fill Emanuel’s congressional seat in 2009. His open county government push has gained wide support and press.

In the 14th District Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a freshman who was appointed to the job, faces opposition from Paula Basta. A third candidate has announced but has not yet filed.

Cook County Commissioner files to retain his seat as 32nd Ward Democratic boss.

Cook County Commissioner files to retain his seat as 32nd Ward Democratic boss. Credit: Jack Lydon

Cassidy, a lesbian activist, signed on to HB 3810, which would eliminate the General Assembly Scholarship Program and has sponsored a number of bills, SB 19, HB 3814 and SB 395, all of which would eliminate a widely criticized provision of the seven percent tax cap that required senior citizens to reapply each year for the exemption.

Opposing her election is Paula Basta, a senior citizens activist who is also gay. Basta is well known as the director of the Levy Senior Center located on Lawrence Ave.

Paul Rosenfeld has filed for the Democratic 47th Ward Committeeman. Former Ald. Eugene Schulter currently fills that position, but has not announced whether he will run for reelection or not.

The committeeman position is critical in the slating of judicial candidates. It also fills vacancies in public offices until the next election. Locally committeeman have filled positions several times.

  • Greg Harris was selected to fill in the ballot vacancy created by the retirement of Ill. Rep. Larry McKeon in 2006.
  • Kelly Cassidy was selected earlier this year to fill the position of Ill. Rep. Harry Osterman when he successfully ran for Alderman.
  • Kathleen Moore was selected instead of Ann Williams to fill a two week vacancy in 2010-11 created when Ill. Rep. John Fritchey ran successfully for the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Williams had won the seat in the general election, but the committeemen claim she wasn’t interested in filing the position for the two week opening. Moore’s appointment is controversial because she provided the critical 60th vote for the passage of the income tax increase and also for the end of the death penalty in the state.

The primary will allow voters to choose party candidates for the offices of:

  • President of the United States
  • Representatives in Congress
  • State Senators
  • Representatives in the General Assembly
  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioners
  • State’s Attorney
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Recorder of Deeds
  • Board of Review Commissioners (Districts 1, 2 & 3)
  • State Supreme Court Judges, vacancies
  • State Appellate Court Judges, vacancies
  • Cook County Circuit Court Judges & Subcircuit Judges, vacancies
  • Additional Judgeships (if required)

In addition delegates and alternate delegates to the National Nominating Conventions and Ward Committeemen are being selected in the primary.

The Primary is organized for major parties. In Illinois only the Republican and Democratic Parties qualify as major parties. The Green Party is allowed to qualify candidates for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

The 2012 Illinois primary is set for March 20. The final day for filing is Dec. 5.  For filing requirements see the page of the County Clerk.

State Board of Elections Web Site


List of offices representing North Side Communities, or candidates from select North Side communities running




North Side Burglaries Map

Did you remember to lock your doors and windows? Too late now, you’re driving through St. Paul, MN on your way to the Dakotas.

The neighborhood is fairly safe. Maybe this map will give you some peace of mind.

  • Red= residential burglary
  • Green = garage burglary
  • Blue= commercial and other burglary



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North Side Restaurant Inspections; Fails

Thinking of going out for dinner this weekend? The City of Chicago has a regular inspection program for restaurants and other food service in the city.

We’d like to think that restaurants use the information to improve their service. Below, a mashup of North Side restaurants the city ranked as failing inspection or no longer in business.

More information is available in the table below.

View Larger Map

Spreadsheet of inspection results

City Inspection Criteria

Description of the City Data Set

City disclaimer about food inspection data (the legal stuff): This information is derived from inspections of restaurants and other food establishments in Chicago from January 1, 2010 to the present. Inspections are performed by staff from the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Food Protection Program using a standardized procedure. The results of the inspection are inputted into a database, then reviewed and approved by a State of Illinois Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner (LEHP). For descriptions of the data elements included in this set, go to Disclaimer: Attempts have been made to minimize any and all duplicate inspection reports. However, the dataset may still contain such duplicates and the appropriate precautions should be exercised when viewing or analyzing these data. The result of the inspections (pass, pass with conditions or fail) as well as the violations noted are based on the findings identified and reported by the inspector at the time of the inspection, and may not reflect the findings noted at other times. For more information about Food Inspections, go to Data Owner: Chicago Department of Public Health. Time Period: 2010 – Present. Frequency: Data is updated weekly.

Rojas: Home sales up, prices up in North Center

Eric Rojas, in his ChicagoRealEstateLocal blog notes that recent figures for the North Center show some strength in the property market with prices up $60K from the $730K median sales price for the first ten months in 2010.

“The popularity of Audubon, Coonley and Bell Elementary Schools contributed to the increased single family home demand,” Rojas says. “In our analysis, Coonley with its recent grants and Regional Gifted Center designation has been the largest factor in increase in home prices.”

Read more at ChicagoRealEstateLocal.

CTA Holiday Train

The annual visit of the holiday train on the Brown Line is expected on three days this year. However, a time schedule for the train has not yet been announced.

The Brown Line will share Dec. 1-3 with Orange Line riders, according to preliminary news releases from the CTA.

The train includes lights both inside and outside the cars and a sleigh riding Santa on a flat car.

For more information.

North Side Crime Mashup

The following mashup is based on City of Chicago crime reports for the North Side Districts 17, 19, 20 and 23 and the period September 1, 2011 through about seven days ago.

We always like to tell the suburbanite visitors or fellow guests that our neighborhood IS safe.

Listed below are

  • Homicides (Arrest not made):

  • Homicides (Arrest made):

  • Arson 

  • Weapons Violation 




North Side Crimes Sept 11 – Nov (7) 11


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Frost hits most areas

A daytime frost has ended the growing season for most area plants, data from WeatherUnderground indicates. Depending on your location, the growing season length in 2011 was between 233 and 235 days. The average growing season in Chicago is expected to be between 170 and 175 days, according to the State Meteorologist.

However, pockets of warmer temperatures, buildings and other shelter could lengthen the growing season still, as not all stations have reported frost.

In the Ravenswood neighborhood, the frost can be measured through five weather stations that post logs of weather.

  • Irving Park Kilchica69 reported the temperatures hit 32° F at 2A and didn’t rise above freezing till 10.54A, with winds below gusting as high as 13 mph, but generally under 5 mph, the frost here was nearly 9 hours long. The thermometer went back down to 32° F at 9.15P, staying cool until 1.32A this morning.
  • Lincoln Square Kilchica105 reports temperatures hit freezing at 2.41A yesterday and remained in the freeze range till 8.32A yesterday. The station did not report a frost last night.
  • North Park Kilchica58 reports temperatures rose above freezing at 12.30A, a three hour frost that started at 9.30P Thursday, after a first frost lasting from 2.30A to 10.30A Thursday.
  • Kirzanadu, located in Lakeview, Kilchica63, reports no frost yet. If you live by the lake, the growing season continues!
  • Just a few blocks away, however, Wrigleyville Kilchica60, reports frost hit at 2.46A Thursday and didn’t lift till 10.46A. Weather is very localized.

With the first frost out of the way (except for Lakeview), we can consider the first measurable snowfall. (Did you notice the freezing rain earlier in the month? It was rated as our first snowfall of the season, according to weather guru Tom Skilling.)

According to the National Weather Service the earliest snowfall in a season hit Chicago on September 25, 1928 with the earliest measurable snowfall happening on October 12, 1909.

When do you think the first measureable snow fall will happen in the hood? Last year it happened on December 1.


Tom Skilling talks about frost.

Tom Skilling on the first snowfall of 2011.

Learn more: Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel, PhD defines a frost.

Learn more: Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel, PhD discusses the growing season.

Learn more: Illinois State Water Survey updated frost dates.

Learn more: Great Chicago Snow storms.

Learn more: Chicago snowfall statistics.